Maker Spaces for Drop-In Creator Fun with NYC Kids

The maker movement is alive and well in NYC, annually bringing one of our favorite festivals, Maker Faire, to the New York Hall of Science.

But what to do with your inventive child the other 51 weekends of the year? Of course there are after-school classesbirthday parties, and summer camp options, but for drop-in, one-off workshops and tinkering sessions? Not as many. Still, we've dug in and rounded up nine NYC maker spaces offering chances for year-round STEM-inspired making, building, and creating, from robots to 3D printing and creative coding.

If you're looking for a longer-term commitment, check out our STEM Guide to read up on all the options for maker-inspired camps, classes, and DIY fun.

The Best New Jersey Party Places for Your Kids' Birthday Bash

Call off the online search! Close out the spreadsheet! We've rounded up some of the best New Jersey birthday venues for kids and teens so that you can spend more time celebrating you kiddo and less time frantically party planning from your iPhone. From awesome indoor amusement parks and fun-filled playspaces, to STEMtastic activities, cookie baking, and real-life escape rooms, there's something for birthday girls and boys of all ages.

Looking for even more ideas? Head over to the New Jersey Party Guide, or browse our directory for party places, entertainers, and even party supplies.

Awesome Long Island Kids' Party Spots

Can you believe your kiddo is about to be another year older? Or that you already have another birthday party to plan?

Well, at least you can forget the stress of venue searching! We've rounded up some of the best party places across Long Island, offering everything from totally cool crafts and fun-filled themed bashes, to exciting museum and aquarium adventures, to action-packed gymnastics and rock climbing celebrations for birthday tots to tweens.

For more party ideas, take a look at our Long Island Party Guide or browse our directory for party places, entertainers, and supplies.

Destination Playground: Hippo Playground on the Upper West Side

New York City doesn't lack for spectacular destination playgrounds, but Hippo Playground is more than a great place to play. Nestled among honey locust trees and a stone's throw away from the Hudson River in Riverside Park, Hippo Playground serves as the heart of the community for this slice of the Upper West Side and countless tots have grown up playing in the cool shade of its trees.

What the Hippo Playground may lack in modern bells and whistles, it makes up for in community and character, starting with the playful pachyderms who form the centerpiece of the playspace.

Classes for Kids with Special Needs in LA: After School and Weekend Sports Activities

I have a child on the Autism Spectrum, or, as I like to call it, the Anxiety Spectrum. Every quirk and disability on the Spectrum—from OCD to sensory issues to ADD to dyslexia—goes hand in hand with lots of anxiety. So if you're like me, you can't simply throw your little one into any ol' extracurricular activity and assume it will go well. Noise levels, group-think, verbal directions, physical coordination... these can be overwhelming challenges for some children.  

Over the last few crazy years with my family, I've discovered many classes and sports around town for special kiddos. And while I'm no PhD-degreed expert, parent-to-parent I would like to share some ideas with the Mommy Poppins community as we immerse ourselves in another school year.

6 Must-See Fall Museum Exhibits for Families Around Boston

A trip to the museum doesn’t need to be a “boring” excursion for your kiddos, or strictly refer to your family popping into an indoor space for some play time. Whether it's artwork featuring everyone's favorite honey loving bear or interactive challenges like dodging hanging pendulums, at least one of these half-dozen exhibits on display across greater Boston is sure to delight your kids this fall. They might even learn something (but you don't have to tell them that).

Free Admission Days at 20+ Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

Love museums, but the prices make you think twice? If you have a large family, those tickets add up fast—which is particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center, and The Broad. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list for easy reference. Go ahead, bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free. 

Great Pumpkin Patches Abound in Fairfield County

New England's most beautiful season has arrived once again, and that means pumpkins on the porch, in our pies and muffins, and for us, diehard fans, even in our coffees. Picking a pumpkin is an autumnal ritual for many, and the perfect excuse to get outside on a crisp afternoon. Fairfield County has more than a few great spots to seek out your orange beauty, and most places offer activities like corn mazes and hayrides, as well as mouth-watering cider donuts and other goodies. Check out our Halloween and Fall Fun Guide for lots of other great information. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and don't miss out on any seasonal fun.

Best Corn Mazes to Visit with Kids Near NYC

Navigating the twists and turns of a giant corn maze is the perfect fall outing for adventurous NYC families. Yet, with dozens of mazes scattered throughout the rural parts of our tristate area, the real challenge is deciding which one to visit.

My family loves our annual corn maze trip to the local Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze. It's just the right size for kids, includes fun clues, and doesn't take all day to get to. However, if you're looking to get out of the city for that true country feel, or you're headed to upstate New York or elsewhere for a long weekend getaway, we've compiled a list of almost two dozen of the area's best corn mazes—most within 90 minutes of NYC.

We've broken down our picks to let you know which are better for older kids vs. preschoolers, which are accessible by train—and which offers the best doughnuts! Most farms include extra seasonal things to do like apple pickingpumpkin picking, pony rides, petting zoos, and even, in one case, a 100-foot mountain slide. For more farm fun, check out our Pick-Your-Own Guide to Farms near New York City, and our guide to harvest festivals, hayrides, and pumpkin patches right in NYC.

Best Pumpkin Patches and Picking in Westchester and Hudson Valley

Autumn is in full swing, and it's a beautiful time of year to be outdoors! We've told you all about the wonderful fall festivals and where to go apple picking. Now we're turning our attention to the great pumpkins.  

Below we've rounded up our favorite places to go pumpkin picking in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. Sure, you can buy your pumpkins from the supermarket or your local nursery, but if you're looking for a more authentic experience, head to one of these nearby pumpkin patches (though pumpkins will generally be found already off the vine). We recommend contacting the farms before heading out to confirm hours of operation, availability, and any comforts that might vary.

Looking for more fall activities? Consult our Fall Fun Guide and follow us on Facebook

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